Indie Book Club discussion

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Writer's Corner > Editing

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message 1: by A.L. (new)


message 2: by R.A. (new)

R.A. White (rawhite) | 131 comments Thanks, Alexandra, very good advice. That part about leaving it alone for a while can be torture, but it was so helpful to me in getting my book where I needed it to be. Thanks for sharing.


message 3: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 1013 comments Yes, step away even for a short time. It is amazing what gets missed, or things which you thought you did:)


message 4: by Peter (new)

Peter Prasad (goodreadscompeter_prasad) | 123 comments They say write fast and edit slow. I pay a gal to read every sentence backwards. Spell Checker tells me I only properly spelled words the wrong way. I read what I intended, not where my fingers landed on the keys. And then, good books are rewritten. Never go with a first draft. I you craft it right, you'll have a world of readers with you for life.


message 5: by R.A. (new)

R.A. White (rawhite) | 131 comments Peter wrote: "They say write fast and edit slow. I pay a gal to read every sentence backwards. Spell Checker tells me I only properly spelled words the wrong way. I read what I intended, not where my fingers ..."

How about four drafts? Five? I think that's what I ended up with. And it really is better for it.


message 6: by Peter (new)

Peter Prasad (goodreadscompeter_prasad) | 123 comments Five at least, plus countless tweeks. I am haunted by Ernie H. saying, write one true sentence. No wonder he killed himself. (joke)


message 7: by R.A. (new)

R.A. White (rawhite) | 131 comments Oh, yes, I'm not counting tweeks. I'm on draft two of my second book, and then I'll send it to my trusty 'beta readers/editors' and then I'll do a serious rewrite based upon their observations and those I come up with on my own. And then I'll wait a while and read it again, looking for typos and 'oh, duh's. It takes time but I actually kind of enjoy it. Other people play angry birds.


message 8: by Peter (new)

Peter Prasad (goodreadscompeter_prasad) | 123 comments My oh,duh's are worse than your oh, duh's. Joke! Love that phrase. Right now I'm wrestling with a pallet to ship cases and a palette to taste wine. Got me tongue-tied. Joke!


message 9: by Jeffrey, Lentarian Fire Thrower (new)

Jeffrey Poole (authorjmpoole) | 2287 comments Mod
Puh-lease. I usually go through a couple of drafts myself before I give my books to my wife. She then returns it with all kinds of pretty marks on it. I have her use the typical pink highlighter for typos and grammar, green for continuity problems, and my trademark blue for those classy WTF was I doing portions.

Anyway, after I do a rewrite, I give to my beta readers. I do a rewrite based on feedback. Then give to editor. Yep, another rewrite. Then it's off to publishing.

Think I'm done? *sigh* I wish. I still notice problems from time to time. The ebooks I can fix instantly. I usually wait for about five to six blatant problems before I'll revise the print editions. And yeah, I've already updated my print copies several times.

No matter how hard you or someone else scours your book, you (or a reader) will always spot a problem. C'est la vie. :)


message 10: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 1013 comments Yes I swear typos spontaneously appear. I am glad I am not the only person who gets WTF moments.


message 11: by Jeffrey, Lentarian Fire Thrower (new)

Jeffrey Poole (authorjmpoole) | 2287 comments Mod
Oh, I'm known for my WTF moments. It's bad enough when someone else points 'em out to me, but when I'm proofing my own manuscript and I hit one myself? Sad. Just sad.

Makes my wife laugh so hard she practically snorts her drink out her nose. Apparently I get really goofy looks on my face when I'm trying to figure out just WTF I was thinking when I wrote that part.


message 12: by R.A. (new)

R.A. White (rawhite) | 131 comments Jeffrey wrote: "Puh-lease. I usually go through a couple of drafts myself before I give my books to my wife. She then returns it with all kinds of pretty marks on it. I have her use the typical pink highlighter..."

It's good to hear you say that, Jeffrey. I started keeping a tab of things I want to change eventually, but that just aren't big enough to warrant re-uploading to createspace (and the re-formatting that might entail). So far it's just a couple little things, and probably nothing that a normal reader would even notice. But I've noticed that a LOT of the indie stuff I've looked at doesn't seem to have been edited much at all. Maybe they need editors that are less afraid of hurting their feelings? I had about 12 beta readers on the first one, but I'll only send the second book to half of them because the second half did the whole 'nice story, good job' bit and maybe underlined a couple of typos. If they want to read the second one, they'll have to buy it. (evil laugh)


message 13: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 1013 comments I have the oh hmm this as late when I wrote this, those are words, well some of them and I get comma happy.


message 14: by Peter (new)

Peter Prasad (goodreadscompeter_prasad) | 123 comments If they give you a hard time for your commas, tell them it's a Oxford comma, and let them look it up.


message 15: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 1013 comments Hehe.


message 16: by Tim (new)

Tim | 44 comments All my commas are Oxford Commas (well, Oxfordshire, anyway...)
;)


message 17: by A.K. (new)

A.K. (akbutler) | 43 comments Alexandra wrote: "Yes I swear typos spontaneously appear. I am glad I am not the only person who gets WTF moments."

At one point I threw my manuscript across the room and may or may not have shouted I BROUGHT YOU INTO THIS WORLD AND I CAN TAKE YOU OUT after noticing a misspelling I'd read over at least 500 times.

Ahhh, editing.


message 18: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 1013 comments Indeed.


message 19: by Susan (new)

Susan Jones (sujones) | 13 comments nice :) lol


message 20: by Cait (new)

Cait Burns | 3 comments This is fascinating, both the link and how all of you do it. I find my problem is that sometimes I trick myself into thinking something doesn't work. Suddenly, my mind wants to do it this way and the book's done this way and I go through changing tiny little things because, at that moment, things don't sound right unless I do them a certain way. Then I calm down and wonder if I went crazy because what I did doesn't fit with anything. Wouldn't another thing to avoid be self disgust?


message 21: by Jeffrey, Lentarian Fire Thrower (new)

Jeffrey Poole (authorjmpoole) | 2287 comments Mod
My biggest problem is trying to proof/edit my own work. I have a really nasty habit of skimming through the paragraphs 'cause I already know what's gonna happen. Bad bad move. My wife has caught more spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes, and my personal favorite WTF mistakes.


message 22: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 1013 comments I think it is easy to see what should be there and not what is there.


message 23: by J.D. (new)

J.D. Hallowell | 247 comments Alexandra wrote: "I think it is easy to see what should be there and not what is there."

Far, far, too easy.


message 24: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 1013 comments Often it is worth stepping away and leaving it for a while. Then reading through again. Even working on something new.
It is amazing how many typos spontaneously appear when you are not looking. Of course getting a professional editor is better but it isn't always an option.

Damn typo fairy.


message 25: by Daniel (new)

Daniel J. Weber (digerbop) | 80 comments Speaking of number of drafts... In an interview I watched with Patrick Rothfuss he apparently took 13 years or something just writing and re-writing the manuscript before even releasing his first book The Name of the Wind. I personally think that's a bit overkills, but hey, whatever it takes to make a good product, I guess. This also made me feel better (being the the Alpha state of writer, or what I like to call my world building draft) knowing that it's better to take my time and write it and re-write it until it's the best it can be before publishing. I was recently turned off by a book review (don't remember what book now) where the author themselves only rated it at 4 stars. Their explanation is that they think it could have been better. "If you think it could be better, author, then make it better! Don't publish for the world to see!" So ya, needless to say, I didn't give that book a second look.


message 26: by Tim (new)

Tim | 44 comments No, I disagree with that. Books are like paintings, or computer programs (I find the processes of writing and programming to be extremely similar), in that they can ALWYAS be made better. There is no perfect state and so a book, like a painting or a computer game can only be abandoned. It will never be "finished".

That writer was technically correct saying it could be better: EVERY book could be better. But he was stupid only to give himself 4 stars and say it in a review.

Only you can decide how many rewrites it takes before you (a) lose the will to live, (b) realise the diminishing improvement of another draft isn't worth the time it'll take, (c) realise you're trying to polish a turd, (d) have a sparkling gem that is sure to storm the Sunday Times Hot 100 list. But even after that, it could still be better.

Me? I'm just finishing draft number 6...


message 27: by Daniel (new)

Daniel J. Weber (digerbop) | 80 comments Tim wrote: "No, I disagree with that. Books are like paintings, or computer programs (I find the processes of writing and programming to be extremely similar), in that they can ALWYAS be made better.

I suppose this is true to some extent, but I don't know if, as an author, I would be happy releasing something that I couldn't, myself, say it was perfect for the time I wrote it. I can look back at some stuff that I wrote when I was in high school and realize that they are total garbage, but at the time I thought they were diamonds in the rough.

Time wrote: realise you're trying to polish a turd

Excellent. this made me laugh. The question is, if it truly is crap, should you throw it out and just go back to the drawing board?


message 28: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 1013 comments Actually according to Mythbusters you can, in fact, shine a shi*:).

No book is perfect... there will ALWAYS be something which in hindsight could be better, rephrashed, added, deleted or whatever. Someone won't like it, understand it, agree with it, or not be offended by it.

Sometimes "crap" is a relative term. I have seen terrible reviews for books I adore, classics which have passed into literary legend.

I am not saying that people should publish any old crap, but if you, as the author are happy that for now, it is as good as it can be then go for it. I bet any author who looks at their book in a year/5 years/10 years will say it could be better.

If people didn't publish because they wanted a perfect book then a lot of books would be missing from the world.


message 29: by Daniel (new)

Daniel J. Weber (digerbop) | 80 comments True story. I suppose the key word it balance. I agree with things being relative. Why does one book deserve 5 star as well as 1 star reviews? The theory of relativity. ;)

At that point, however, I think that it comes down to who the intended audience is. As a writer, if you are writing a book for kids, there are certain dos and don't which appeal better to children. If a more literately astute adult picked up that book, it might bore them. The biggest case of this that I find is "woman's literature." Not many men will read woman's literature simply because it is not enjoyable to them, not necessarily that it is written poorly. It is written for woman, so when being viewed from the eyes of the perspective audience it will be a lot better than through the eyes of someone it was not intended for. This does raise the question, however, where is the line between writing for an audience vs. writing for the "fan boys." If you are writing for the "fan boys" the book could potentially be literary garbage, but it will sell like hotcakes simply "it has zombies in it" or "it is about vampires" (Yes, I am picking on those current trends in media/literature, but don't be offended if you have written a good book with zombies or vampires in it ;) ).


message 30: by M.R. (new)

M.R. Forbes (mrforbes) | 3 comments I tend to consider how much I edit under the concept of minimum effective dose (from pharmacology, but popularized by Tim Ferriss):

http://wellnessmama.com/3044/the-mini...

There's a point at which the effort you're putting in doesn't correlate well to the quality you're getting back out.


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